FireDino FireWire Hub

FireDino FireWire Hub
Company: FireWire Depot

Price: $74.95

The day Dino arrived, life immediately became more productive and interesting. Nobody ever asks me “How are you able to run so many FireWire devices, Nemo?” Instead, each music or computer student, personal friend or family member, and occasional visitor says “What’s that dinosaur doing on your desk?” The meaning is clear: you’re a weirdo, Nemo, and I always knew it.

I was planning to purchase a name-brand FireWire hub/repeater just before Dino came to town, and I’m glad I waited. Is Dino a he, a she, or an it? Let’s settle for calling “it” Dino, to avoid any gender conflicts. Dino is, without hesitation, the most bizarre and useful thingamabob I have had the pleasure to review in a long time.

My G3 iMac DV has two built-in FireWire ports, and I possess at least ten FireWire external CD burners or hard drives.

One of my FireWire ports is always occupied to connect a powered external FireWire hard drive to the iMac, with a FireWire cable plugged into the external drive’s second FireWire port for occasional usage only while this drive is running. The other FireWire port on the computer is permanently connected to one of Dino’s four bus-powered FireWire inputs, allowing me to extend this iMac port by three additional devices, each of which can theoretically connect to another powered FireWire unit. Still with me? Good.


Dino resides on top of an exposed Western Digital 40GB hard drive, with a FireWire drive dock affixed for occasional use, receiving power via Dino. Two CD-RW burners sit underneath both Dino and Western Digital, adding height and scariness to Dino’s presence on my unconventional desktop.

With twistable arms, legs, and tail, Dino loses balance and tips over from time to time. My young music students adore Dino, and twist the extremities when I’m not paying attention. Or is it their parents who are doing this prank? Do I care? Does rock-solid stability concern me? Not likely.

Upon receiving a FireWire signal from iMac, Dino’s eyes glow red. Is that a menacing growl I hear coming from those massive teeth? You’ll have to make a personal visit to see and hear for yourself.

Why purchase Dino when boring, generic FireWire hubs are available for a bit less money? If you are perplexed by that deep, troubling question, I’ll gladly help you select a lookalike computer from the Windows universe. Dino, just like your Macintosh, is quirky and idiosyncratic, and not a typical receptacle for extending the range of your many FireWire devices.

Any complaints? Yes, sort of. Those movable legs, arms, and tail place Dino into the “toy” or “fun” or “totally wacko” category, but they can easily shift position, especially once Dino’s back is loaded with FireWire cables spewing in several directions. For maximum stability, stand Dino up as tall as possible. You can still wiggle Dino’s arms, but the tail and legs keep Dino’s body and quartet of cables with nominal balance.

Nemo is not normally a MacPerson who goes out of his way to acquire bizarre accessories for the fun of it. My stereo computer speakers look strange, and my padded articulated wrist rests are peculiar, but no one notices them much any more with Dino perched and ready to attack. I was intrigued by the idea of a FireWire hub disguised as a dinosaur, and only when Dino and Nemo became buddies did I realize that this product deserves to be a huge success.

Thank you to our friends and colleagues at FireWire Depot, creators of Dino.

MacMice Rating: 4 out of 5
A very decent product. Worth the time and investment, but look for competing products.

John Nemerovski

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